What people are saying

Giovanna Campello
Chief UNODC Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Section

Parents more than ever need proven strategies, based on science, to support how they raise their children. As people are forced to work from home, and as COVID-19 contributes to increased stress, more than ever we need to focus on the needs of the children.”

Andrés Finguerut
Chief, Drug Prevention and Health Branch (DHB), UNODC

“I see that supporting science-based substance use prevention with a focus on developing the skills of young people works. I hope that Listen First continues to be seen as a platform to disseminate the science of prevention and to focus on the needs of the most precious resource around the world – children.”

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Dr Nora Volkow
Director National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health (NIDA)

“The involvement of parents is crucial, but also the alertness that some children are at a higher risk. That is why ‘Listen First’ is so relevant because by listening to the child the parents can learn not only what they communicate but also how they communicate it. By listening, we can understand the problems and intervene early on.

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Laura D'Arrigo
Diplomatic adviser, Interministerial Mission for Combating Drugs and Addictive Behaviours, Government of France

“'Listen First' marks a change of paradigm in the prevention approach. More than 30 countries and organizations from all continents adhered to the initiative, well beyond our expectations, this means that the simple message of Listen First hits right."

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Matej Košir
UTRIP Slovenia

The Listen First campaign nicely summarizes the main messages from the evidence-based family-focused prevention programmes which we have been implementing in Slovenia for almost ten years.”

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Sanela Talić
UTRIP Slovenia

“Since we cannot be in physical contact with families during COVID-19, we think that supplementing those programmes with pleasant and warm video content is a great solution. It offers us the opportunity to bring to the fore tools or approaches that have a scientific basis and are proven to work. Even in so-called ‘normal’ times.”

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Gilberto Gerra
Director of Prevention, Innovation and Research Unit, Mental Health and Addiction Department, Public Health System, Parma, Italy (Former Chief, UNODC Prevention Branch and founder of ‘Listen First’)

“‘Listen First’ is a playful and fun way to disseminate science-based prevention that targets adults widely. The materials help adults to see the importance of establishing an intensive interpersonal relationship with children, giving them their undivided time with consideration for the child's dignity, creativity, and view of the future. Being able to listen to the dreams of children and adolescents could be a real new attitude and change of mentality in education.”

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Maria Melchior
Senior Researcher, Pierre Louis Institute of Epidemiology and Public Health at INSERM and Sorbonne University in Paris

“I think ‘Listen First’ is great. Prevention of substance use is key. It is much more cost-effective, and it prevents a lot of suffering. It's also very difficult for many countries to implement, so this is how ‘Listen First’ can help”

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Borikhan Shaumrov
Senior Program Officer, UNODC Regional Office Central Asia (ROCA)

"Family harmony helps to reduce children's anxieties while keeping them safe. So, the 'Listen First' campaign with its useful materials is very important."

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Ashita Mittal
UNODC Regional Representative at ROCA

“Substance use prevention works, especially evidence-based prevention, such as increasing parenting skills and using 'Listen First' materials. Thank you to our member states for adapting and scaling up UNODC Programs on the prevention of drugs and crime. Together we have and can go far in making our families and societies healthy, safe, and secure.”

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Dr Aala El-Khani
Humanitarian Psychologist, Honorary Research Associate at the University of Manchester, UNODC Consultant

"'Listen First' stepped up to the need for a rapid and timely response of science-based parenting messages. Recognizing that caring, responsive adults help protect children in difficult times, especially when they are warm, supportive, and comforting.”

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Nives Letnar Žbogar
Coordinator of the 'Health in kindergartens' program and Head of the Ljubljana regional unit of the National Institute of Public Health

"The messages are basic, simple, perhaps forgotten, but very current both in the time of fast consumerism and in the time of the COVID-19 epidemic. Following the parenting tips will help us feel better and connect and understand each other better."

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Dr Nick Banatvala
Head of Secretariat, United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases (WHO)

"'Listen First' is a great opportunity to raise the profile of non-communicable diseases and mental health across sectors beyond health, including finance, education, and social protection, thus promoting a coherent and multi-sectoral response."

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Karthika Pillai
UNODC Youth Forum 2021 Participant, State Coordinator in the Program Monitoring Unit of the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment of India

“Listen First paired up with evidence-based strategies can be very effective as they not only comprise of protective factors but are also applied at an age-appropriate developmental stage.”

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Eva Djordjevic
UNODC Youth Forum 2021 Participant

“A campaign like ‘Listen First’ will help push discourse and policy towards scientific evidence because many current national drug policies are still largely based on anecdotes, myths, prejudice, and emotional reactions.” 

Dr. Oriol Esculies
International Commissioner, Association ‘Proyecto Hombre’

“‘Listen First' focuses on the importance of developing life skills, involvement of parents, and the subtle emphasis that the earlier one starts with prevention, the better it is. This is in line with our prevention approach.”

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Dr. Alexandra Martins
Head of the UNODC Global Programme to End Violence against Children

“UNODC places children at the centre of all our work and supports countries in creating the necessary conditions to promote child participation and civic engagement in decision-making processes that will affect children.  Initiatives such as “Listen First” contribute to acknowledging that everyone has a role to play in the well-being of children. Listening to children is a crucial step in preventing and responding to violence against children”

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Valerie Chmara
Psychosocial Support Specialist, UNODC Global Programme to End Violence against Children

“‘Listen First’ allows children to be valued and also to value what they think and how they feel. Respecting and considering the feelings of children is an essential step in preventing violence against them.”

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Miwa Kato
Director of Division for Operations, UNODC

“In 2020-21, UNODC focused ‘Listen First’ to support parenting during the stressful times of COVID-19, to invest in the well-being of children and youth, their families and their communities.”

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Dr. Zili Sloboda
President, Applied Prevention Science International

“‘Listen First’ takes the next step in educating not only prevention professionals but also other  professionals who may be in contact with parents or children who may benefit from evidence-based prevention interventions.”

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Dr. Milan Pekić
Director, Office for Combating Drugs, The Republic of Serbia

“‘Listen First’ presents a unique opportunity for mutual cooperation for all institutions and organizations [related to] child education and drug policies … [which] enables the involvement of the whole society in raising awareness … [and] contributes to the health of children and the health of society as a whole.”

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Marshall Morrisseau
UNODC Youth Forum Participant, 2020.  Employee, Thunderbird Partnership Foundation, Canada.

"'Listen First' is a great and very accessible resource. It could have a huge impact on my community. It is an excellent tool that can empower people to make conscious decisions."

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Dr. Layla Al-Hayas
Executive Director, Monitoring and Innovation Sector at the Department of Community Development in Abu Dhabi

We use ‘Listen First’ materials and videos to raise awareness among families and caregivers about the importance of actively listening to children, monitoring their daily routines, participating in their activities, and being patient with them."

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Made possible with the generous support of France.